President Donald Trump’s allies have no apparent answer for their Dear Leader’s intertwining with Russian interests and, more broadly, totalitarianism around the world and wannabe copies here at home. This weekend, in an appearance on ABC, Trump ally Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wi.) completely ignored a question about whether he’s concerned about a report that top Trump officials were worried that Russian President Vladimir Putin has influenced Trump’s position on Ukraine. Trump’s baseless theory that Ukraine and not Russia led 2016 election meddling underlined his attempt to bribe Ukraine investigations, which has driven impeachment. Johnson resorted to more conspiracy theories even lying that Democrats have carried out Russia’s aims or whatever when asked about the situation.
Host Martha Raddatz directly asked him if he was concerned about the president’s apparent de facto direction from Russia, and he did not answer. What’s he trying to hide? He railed:
‘I have no doubt that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections. My committee held hearings two years before that about Russian interference in the European elections. They basically tried to foment a coup in Montenegro. So, this is what Russia does. We need to anticipate it; we need to do everything we can to guard against it.’
Raddatz interrupted to ask if he thought Trump was adequately guarding against that threat, but it’s as if Johnson was having an entirely different conversation. No matter the documented financial and personal ties of the Trump campaign to Russia, not to mention the utterly outlandish divisiveness that Trump has enacted as a feature of his time in office, Johnson claimed that Democrats have somehow carried out Russian aims by daring to investigate the president.
Despite the recently publicly concluded Justice Department inspector general’s investigation that examined over one million documents and did not find any evidence that bias affected the course of the Russia investigation, Johnson insisted:
‘Listen, after 2016, we’re doing Putin’s work for him. Democrats and the media are carrying the water for this false Russian hoax. Look at the disruption. Look at how distracted we all are based on a completely false narrative of Trump’s campaign’s collusion with Russia. There are some real serious questions about what happened during the FBI’s investigation of that. There are some questions about some actors with the DNC, working with people in Ukraine. There are many unanswered questions. They are legitimate questions.’
No, they are not. They are distractions from the president’s ongoing attempts to use the power of the presidency for his personal ends.
"Do you have concerns that Putin is influencing Pres. Trump's opinion on Ukraine?" @martharaddatz asks Sen. Johnson as both world leaders tout debunked theory.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) December 22, 2019
Literally while final impeachment proceedings were taking place over his gambit for Biden dirt, personal Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani was in Ukraine, looking for that dirt. They’re refusing to stop, and Congressional Republicans are just burying their heads in the sand.
Moving forward, the now House-approved impeachment case against the president is awaiting a Senate trial. However, Senate Republicans have explicitly pledged not to be fair in that trial, so House Democrats have decided to wait to transmit their case — which has the president and his allies freaking out. Johnson called the delay “bizarre” but had seemingly no such condemnation for his colleagues who’ve touted that they won’t be “impartial.”